Can Bees See Color? (Explained)

by Alex Kountry
Updated on

Colors are an important aspect of vision. I mean, what’s the fun of seeing if you cannot see colors? 

So, yes, bees can see colors, but they cannot see all colors. This is mainly because they have very different color vision than humans. 

Their eyes are more sensitive to certain colors than human eyes are insensitive to. Bees can see ultraviolet light, which is advantageous to their feeding off flowers because flowers reflect large amounts of ultraviolet light. 

This makes flowers look very bright against their surroundings and very appealing to a bee!

It is also believed that the favorite colors of bees’ are purple, violet, and blue. This might explain why ‘bee-friendly’ flowers, such as lavender and forget-me-nots, tend to be these colors.

Can bees see color

Can Bees See Color

Bees can see color but not all the colors because their eye sights are completely different from that of humans. 

They have the ability to distinguish between green, blue, and ultraviolet light, but they can’t distinguish red from black.

Can bees see humans

Bees cannot see humans, but it doesn’t mean that they do not have the ability to recognize humans. 

According to Dr Adrian Dyer in the Journal of Experimental Biology, bees can be trained to recognize humans and he carried out one of such training on some bees.

The training consisted of showing the bees a series of black-and-white pictures of human faces. The bees got tasty or sour rewards, depending on their performance.

The face series is exactly the same one used by psychologists to test human memory.

Related: Here is an article I wrote on will bleach kill bees?

What Colors can bees see?

To understand what colours bees see, we must first take a moment to look at human vision. 

How do humans see colours? When we see a coloured object, we see the light reflected from this object. The light is reflected at different wavelengths, and this determines the colour we see.

In humans, all the colours we see can be classified into three basic colours, which we call primary colours – red, blue and green. 

Bees on the other hand have completely different eyesight from humans, and this is the reason they do not see the colour, red.  

Bees see blue, violet-green, blue colours, and bee’s purple – a combination of yellow and ultraviolet light. 

Their colour vision is one of the fastest amongst animals, and their colour vision is also faster than that of humans by five times.

Are bees attracted to color?

Of course, bees are attracted to colors. As a matter of fact, bees have superpower eyesight that enables them to see colors faster than humans.

And not just humans, but animals as well. 

Their color vision is the fastest in the animal world-five times faster than humans. So while we may have trouble distinguishing one flower in a group from another, bees don’t. 

The colors that bees see attract them. Although, according to scientists, they are more attracted to purple, violet and blue colors.

Can bees see in the dark?

The answer to this question is quite complex because there is no definite answer to the question. 

This is because bees are blinded at night. The eyesight of bees are not suited for seeing in the dark, but it is not impossible for bees to see in the dark 

Some scientists have claimed that bees try to use their brains to stimulate their poor vision in the dark. 

As a matter of fact, there’s a particular species of bee that can see in the dark perfectly. 

Also read this article I wrote on do bees have fur?

Can bees see infrared light?

Bees see the world differently from humans, especially with colors. Bees can see infrared light and also ultraviolet rays. 

Bees are trichromatic. This means that they have three photoreceptors in their eyes that make color combinations – blue, green and ultraviolet.

Flowers look completely different when placed under UV light, but because bees can see Ultraviolet rays, that’s not a problem for them. 

Sometimes, when a plant looks like a mass of yellow flowers, a bee will see each flower individually. Not only that, many flowers have indications on the petals that guide bees to where the nectar is. Most times, the human eyes cannot see this.

Can bees see pink?

Humans are known to be attracted to pink, especially ladies, and this is because of how beautiful the color is, but when it comes to bees, it is not completely known if they can see the color pink.

However, it is a known fact that they cannot see the color red. To bees, red is seen as black.

The way bees view the world is completely different from how humans or other animals view the world, especially colors.

The primary colors that humans see are red, green and blue, while to bees, primary colors are blue, green and ultraviolet. 

What is bees’ favorite color?

I guess that it won’t be abnormal or strange to say that bees do have favorite colors and this is because these bees have colors that they are attracted to.

Of course, we know that bees will stay away from the color red because they don’t see the color.

Bees see the color red as black. So, if they can have a least favorite color, surely, they should have a favorite one.

So, according to scientists, the most likely colors to attract bees are purple, violet and blue.

With this, it is safe to call these colors the favorite colors of bees. 

Why do beekeepers wear white?

Bees see dark colors as a threat, so when they notice any dark color close to them or moving towards them, the first instinct is to attack.

This is one of the ways bees protect themselves from predators.

As a result of this, beekeepers wear white whenever they want to approach their beehives.

This will make the bees not see them as a threat, and therefore reduce their chances of being stung by the bees.


Yes, bees can see colors, and they can see colors faster than humans. Amongst animals, they have the fastest color vision. 

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About the author

Alex Kountry

Alex Kountry is the founder of HayFarmGuy and has been a backyard farmer for over 10 years. Since then he has decided to write helpful articles that will help you become a better backyard farmer and know what to do. He also loves to play tennis and read books


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